If you’ve been on the Internet for a number of years and have refused to buy the latest and greatest things that have come out, you might currently have an unsupported operating system.
Specifically, Microsoft has ceased support of the XP operating system, which first came out in 2001. While Microsoft started warning consumers a few years ago, many people have been unwilling to upgrade to the next operating system (Vista and then Windows 7).
With XP support gone, you’ll no longer have security updates. Microsoft won’t fix new system vulnerabilities, ever, and criminals know this.
At the same time, if you don’t want Windows 8.1 (many people don’t), you still have options:
• Upgrade your computer to Windows 7, if you can. This might not be an option if your computer is too old to support the program. Unless you’re highly skilled in wiping hard drives, you’re better off handing your machine over to a repair technician for the installation. Here’s the dilemma many have to face: XP is a 32-bit program. Windows 7 is a 64-bit program. You can’t simply install Windows 7 over XP and expect the upgrade to go well.
The hard drive has to be wiped (erased), with all your programs erased and your files saved elsewhere. Then, after installation, all your software and programs need to be reinstalled. (Yes, there is a Windows 7 32-bit version, but you’re better off avoiding that.) If you have a techie do this upgrade, it going to cost you some money for all the hours spent feeding software into your computer.
• Buy a new computer. At this point, you’ll have a hard time finding a new system with Windows 7 on it. Everything in stores is now up to Windows 8. Look for one with downgrade rights to Windows 7.
• Buy a refurbished computer with a new copy of Windows 7 64-bit on it and install your software yourself. All in all, this might be your cheapest option.
Notice there’s no recommendation to jump in with a new computer and Windows 8.1, which is coming out this month with fixes to Windows 8. Unless you’re going all the way to touch screen and are up for a whole new experience and steep learning curve, Windows 8.1 might be too much of a leap.